Well, I’m back from San Jose and the NHL All-Star festivities, so it’s time to talk prospects again. The CHL Top Prospects Game happened in Red Deer, with a decent showing for the top-end guys and no huge surprises. Things are starting to get serious in the NCAA and one of the best traditions in college – the Beanpot tournament – is on our doorstep. For the uninitiated, the Beanpot features all four Boston-based NCAA teams (Northeastern, Boston College, Boston University and Harvard), with the winner getting local bragging rights for the year.
The semifinal matchups next Monday are Boston College vs. Harvard and Boston U. vs. Northeastern, with the championship and third-place games happening one week later.
We also got the AHL All-Star Classic in Springfield, with home-team fave Anthony Greco doing a faster lap than Connor McDavid, so let’s take a look at some of the prospects making noise right now, shall we?
Liam Foudy, C, London Knights (OHL): It’s all about the wheels with Foudy and he’s been using that speed to burn opponents on the regular lately. The OHL player of the week with eight points in three games, Foudy even won a family game when he scored the game-winner over younger brother Jean-Luc’s Windsor Spitfires. Liam is a Columbus Blue Jackets first-rounder. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Drake Batherson, RW, Belleville Senators (AHL): The MVP of AHL All-Star weekend, Batherson helped the North Division take the crown with five goals in four games. Needless to say, the Ottawa Senators prospect knows how to bury his chances, but Batherson is also a tireless worker, which helps get him those results. NHL arrival: 2018-19
Colten Ellis, G, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL): Currently rocking a five-game win streak, Ellis hasn’t given up more than two goals in a game since his first match of the month (and he only gave up three in that one). A quick netminder, Ellis also got the win at the CHL Top Prospects Game for Team Orr. The 2019 draft prospect has a .914 save percentage with Rimouski. NHL arrival: 2023-24
Angus Crookshank, LW, University of New Hampshire Wildcats (Hockey East): With 14 points in his past 10 games, Crookshank has suddenly jumped into the top-10 of conference scoring. That’s pretty sweet for a freshman, but the Ottawa Senators pick does have skill, a great shot and good skating ability – so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. NHL arrival: 2022-23
Vitek Vanicek, G, Hershey Bears (AHL): It’s usually not too fun to be a goalie at an All-Star Game, but Vanicek managed to post one shutout, while surrendering just two goals during four mini-game appearances for the Atlantic Division. The Washington Capitals prospect brings decent size and good experience between the pipes. NHL arrival: 2019-20
Justin Almeida, LW, Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL): For the second straight time, Almeida has been named the league’s player of the week. The slight Pittsburgh Penguins prospect is a deft playmaker, but he can also find the soft areas in the offensive zone to get the finish himself. With seven points in his past three games, Almeida now ranks sixth in ‘Dub’ scoring. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Nick Swaney, RW, University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (NCHC): Swaney has been on an absolute tear of late, putting up seven points in three games before getting shut out in a win over Omaha. The Minnesota Wild prospect is dangerous in all situations, using his quick release and nose for the net to do damage. NHL arrival: 2021-22
Victor Soderstrom, D, Brynas (SHL): It’s not easy playing defense in Sweden’s top league as a teenager, but Soderstrom is putting a nice effort forward with Brynas, a mid-table club that is happy to have his skills and smooth skating on their side. The 2019 draft prospect is playing on the team’s second pairing right now and having success. NHL arrival: 2020-21
Jackson Perbix, RW, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL): The USHL’s forward of the week thanks to five goals over two games, Perbix is an Anaheim Ducks puck who is nasty to play against. On top of the grit, the University of Minnesota commit clearly has some skills and he’s getting close to a point per game thanks to his hot play of late. NHL arrival: 2022-23
Layton Ahac, D, Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL): Canada’s Jr. A Top Prospects Game happened last week, with Ahac earning player of the game honors for the victorious Team West. A big, two-way blueliner who has been snake-bitten this season with Prince George, Ahac got a key goal at the Prospects Game. The 2019 draft prospect is an Ohio State commit. NHL arrival: 2023-24